Big adventure just gets bigger

Date published: June 11, 2014 at 11:10 am | Comments

THE Gravity Sports Kawerau Six Hour Adventure Race has reached its limit.

The fourth edition of the race on Saturday included 126 teams and Gravity Sports committee member Edwina O’Brien said it was a fantastic day.

“It exceeded our expectations. We have probably come to the limit in terms of team numbers.

“Safety is a big factor.

“It goes to show, people feel like there is a possibility of being challenged and being safe in an event like this.

“There were a lot of beginners out there, maybe around 30 per cent. That is more than it ever has been and that is what it is all about.”

O’Brien said having adventure racing guru Neil Jones on board was a huge help.

“None of this happens without him. We are really fortunate to have someone of his calibre in the community.

“We were happy with how it all went but there is always room for improvement.

“We had really positive feedback, looking at the photos, you will see lots of smiles. That is a big win for us.”

O’Brien said the Tarawera Forest provided a great location for the event.

“We have the opportunity in 21,000 hectares to provide an event that is so close to nature. We also have a tight little committee that do a great job.

“We also get great sponsorship from Whakatane Great Outdoors.”

There were four legs in the event plus several mystery activities including a tomahawk throw and fire brigade drills.

The two mountainbike legs, one trek leg and the ride and run leg all had various route options so the teams could obtain as many of the checkpoints as possible depending on their ability, in the six hours.

The ride and run allowed only one bike to be used for a two-person team or two bikes for a four-person team.

Bikers would ride ahead before getting off and dropping the bike on the side of track and then start running. Their teammate would follow and pick up the bike, pass them and repeat the process.

In the open category, one of New Zealand’s top adventure racing teams in Rhys Burns, David Blundell, Rob Lei and Rob Griffiths were in a class of their own as they collected all 102 checkpoints and picking up some bonuses for finishing under six hours to gather 5271 points.

Whakatane’s Sam Clark was in a team with Olly Shaw, Dirk Peters and Mark Leishman who placed second.

They were 50 points ahead of the all Whakatane team of Austin Oliver, Lawrence Harper, Craig Julian, Gordon Townsend and Greg Knight.

In the open women’s category, Whakatane duo of Brigette Masse and Roz Wilson had the highest total of 4360 points to easily win their two-person division.

Likewise in the mixed two- person, team of Steve Lock and Lea Vellenoweth scored 4610 points.

In the four-person women’s section, with 3390 points, was Kim King, Anna Seymour, Rhonda Good and Di Brown.

Fifty of the teams were secondary school entries and Trident High School’s Vincent Masse Denicourt and Emily Wotton scored well with 3630 points to win the secondary schools two-person mixed section.

Trident’s Sam Oliver, Sam Dobbin, Janneke Olthius and Campbell Reid had 4890 points, the fifth highest overall of the day, to win the division.

There were secondary school teams from throughout the North  Island.

Source: Whakatane Beacon